Integrated Vocational and Educational Skills Training
The INVEST mission is to provide structured and supported employment opportunities through an experiential learning process emphasizing the inherent reciprocity within academic study and job skills training. Work experience, along with a stipend, is provided in various employment areas, and career-centered instruction is delivered within a classroom setting or on the job, depending on the needs of the student.
As the mission states, there are two main components to the INVEST program at the Jen School. One is a supervised work experience, and the other is a credited course. Students participating in the INVEST program report to work at the end of the school day. There they follow the Step-by-Step training program to develop their vocational skills. The Step-by-Step program covers five major areas: appropriate work behavior, business-like image and relationships, communication, how business works, and work environment. The students are responsible for several jobs on and off campus including but not limited to, janitorial work, kitchen and cafeteria detail, vending machine maintenance, gardening, furniture/bike repair, and metal recycling.
Job coaches work with the students to demonstrate not only the skills for their particular jobsite, but also soft skills. Soft skills are often more difficult to teach and are transferable to any work situation. They include communication, attitude, networking, problem solving and critical thinking, professionalism, and teamwork. The credited course component is taught by certified teachers and covers resume drafting, the application process, interview skills, and career exploration and discovery. Through this experiential program, students get hands-on training and assistance in navigating the world of work, and individualized support in planning for their life after high school.